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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Technology

Microsoft, Sony vie for gamers attention at E3 2014
Siladitya Ray, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 10, 2014
First Published: 15:18 IST(10/6/2014)
Last Updated: 08:03 IST(11/6/2014)

Microsoft and Sony announced a slew of new games for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (PS4) at the pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) presentations in Los Angeles on Monday.

The E3 is an annual trade show for the video game industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). This year the event is scheduled to take place at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California from June 10, 2014 to June 12.

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division and Microsoft Studios, opens the Xbox presentation ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. (AP photo)

Microsoft, the first company to go on stage, revealed the next installment in the massively popular sci-fi Halo franchise called Halo 5: Guardians, which set to release in 2015.

The US tech giant also went on to show off Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which is a remastered anthology of older games chronicling Master Chief's Saga, for the Xbox One to be released on November 11, 2014.

Other major announcements from Microsoft's stable was the upcoming racing title, Forza Horizon 2 and other exclusives like the artsy action platformer, Sunset Overdrive and Dance Central Spotlight.

Bonnie Ross Halo for the Xbox One, during a presentation ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. (AP photo)

"We are committed to delivering amazing experiences that will help define this generation of games and delight the millions of passionate Xbox fans around the world," said Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division.

Sony's presentation which followed later in the evening was also packed with announcements of new games coming to the PlayStation 4.

Sony's Worldwide Studios announced a slew of first party exclusive titles for the platform.

The biggest reveal came at the end of the presentation when the new installment in the popular Uncharted franchise, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was announced.

Gamers play a LittleBigPlanet 3 video game during Sony's PlayStation press event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. (AP photo)

Sony also premiered Abzu, an undersea odyssey from the creators of the Bafta-winning Journey and Entwined, a psychedelic 3-D flying game.

Other major titles revealed for the PS4 at the presentation were Little Big Planet 3 and the critically and commercially acclaimed Grand Theft Auto V.

Also shown were highlights from steampunk thriller The Order: 1866.

"Our vision is grounded in an uncompromising commitment to gamers," said PlayStation group chief Andrew House.

The other stand out factor at both the presentations was the prominence given to small independent studios, churning out artistic games.

This photo released by Electronic Arts shows a scene from the video game, “Battlefield: Hardline." Electronic Arts is testing its latest “Battlefield” game at E3. (AP photo)

Third party publishers Electronic Arts and Ubisoft also held their pre E3 conferences on Monday. EA's big announcement was the reveal of Battlefield Hardline and Star Wars Battlefront both set to appear on the Xbox One and PS4. EA also gave a sneek peek into other titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition and cult favorite Mirror's Edge.

Ubisoft showed highlights from the next installment of the action-adventure franchise Assassin's Creed set in the French Revolution called Assassin's Creed: Unity. Ubisoft's big surprise was the revival of the cult franchise Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six with a new title Rainbow Six: Siege. Both games will be available on Xbox One and PS4.

Attendees watch a scene from the game "Assassin's Creed: Unity" during the Xbox E3 Media Briefing at USC's Galen Center in Los Angeles. (Reuters photo)

Both presentations heavily featured indie games with the highlight being Abzu on the PlayStation 4.

Third party publishers Electronic Arts (EA) and Ubisoft also held their pre-E3 conferences on Monday.

EA's big announcement was the reveal of Battlefield Hardline and Star Wars Battlefront both set to appear on the Xbox One and PS4.

It also gave a sneak peek into other titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition and cult favorite Mirror's Edge.

Ubisoft showed highlights from the next installment of the action-adventure franchise Assassin's Creed set in the French Revolution called Assassin's Creed: Unity.

It's big surprise was the revival of the cult franchise Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six with a new title Rainbow Six: Siege. Both games will be available on Xbox One and PS4.

A preview of the video game Destiny is shown during a Sony Computer Entertainment America media briefing before the opening day of E3 in Los Angeles. (Reuters photo)

Microsoft targeted hardcore gamers this time, after last year's strategy of wooing the large casual audience failed.

Sony right from the start has positioned the PS4 as the gamer's console and this has propelled it significantly forward in sales.

But Xbox One's Halo Collection is expected to move a few systems for Microsoft.

Sony's trump card game Uncharted 4 is still more than a year away from hitting the store shelves. Sony though has promised it's consumers exclusive content for this year's blockbuster title Destiny.

Interestingly, Destiny is being developed by the the creators of Halo, Bungie Games, a studio previously owned by Microsoft.

Watch: New Xbox One Titles Hyped at E3

The PlayStation 4 has led the Xbox One in sales since both consoles launched in November.

Sony has sold through 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles to consumers while Microsoft has shipped 5 million Xbox One units to retailers.

Microsoft has reacted to this by slashing the price of the Xbox One by $100 to match the PlayStation's $399 price tag. Microsoft hopes this will push the Xbox One's sales ahead of the PS4.

Sony's biggest challenge will be retaining its sales momentum, due to a drought of exclusive software for the 2014 fall and holiday season and the loss of the $100 price advantage over the Xbox One.

Both the systems are now trying to appeal to new buyers to maintain these strong sales early in the console's expected five to seven year life cycle.


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